Boats Pedigree
Before you buy a boat find out the boat’s pedigree. It helps if you know the reputation of the designer, and the builder - first hand knowledge, not hearsay. If they are alive, you should call them up and chat about the design, and how and where they were built. I talked to the designer, Rob Ball, of the C&C design team (1970 - 1989, and head of a design team since 1973.)
C&C design team.

(L to R Mark Ellis, Steve Killing, Rob Mazza, Rob Ball, Tony Godwin, Ruth Gard, George Cassian, Ruth Coombes, and Len Cox - George Cuthbertson took picture)

The C&C 3/4T was Rob Ball’s first design without George Cuthbertson’s assistance. 

Rob Ball - designer of the C&C 3/4 Ton

“The first design that I undertook from a ‘clean sheet’ was the C&C 33 (custom = 3/4Ton) done in the spring of ’74 . .My ‘walking papers’ at that point were for a high performance design, fitting the three-quarter ton size, that would race well to re-establish our image on the race track . . . . This was a tough way to start my ‘real’ career and I researched as much as I could and with trepid heart introduced a somewhat new (but not revolutionary) design and we tried to make it look the part as well. The hull still used Big George’s ‘wedge’ idea, and I believed this would yield good results . . .

An early boat was shipped to Europe (to be used by Baltic Yachts for their production) and it was entered in the Three-Quarter Ton Cup that was in Norway that year . . . In the first two races they placed well and in the third race bested the fleet a pretty amazing thing considering it was a production boat with interior - up against race boats . . . . Wow . . .and then in the next race they broke their mast - not so good but . . . . but . . . . the boat was good . . . . .

The 33 enjoyed a pretty good run I think primarily on performance and C&C’s name stayed up there . . .”

Here is the plan for my boat. This is different than some of its 14 sister-ships, as they have a forward V berth, and some have only a single quarterberth. Here there are four berths, with sail stowage forwards. Fin keel swept back. Deep spade rudder that rotates 360 degrees (this was a brilliant idea, as the boat steers easily when going astern.) Tiller steering which is good especially for the wind-vane steering set up. The tiller swings to the vertical position and clears the cockpit space. The cockpit is huge and the coachroof is smaller compared with the production 33. Headroom is just under 6 ft up to the mast, then it gets lower and you have to stoop in the forward cabin. There are two huge hatches in the deck up forward. I can stand on the head (platform over) and my waist is then at deck level which means I can attach a storm jib to the baby-stay without having to be on a heaving deck. The deck is reinforced in way of the mast by a box section which makes the deck very stiff. Also in the fwd cabin is a tension bar that supports the pull of the baby-stay.


Your designer should endorse the builder, and the builder should have supervision from the designers office. There must be inspections during the building process, either by the design office, or a classification agency such as Lloyds, because you want to be assured that the builder didn’t take any shortcuts, or use materials different from the design specifications.

It’s important that the designer and builder are sailors and have made ocean passages before.You won’t look forward to Ocean passages if the design is poorly suited to them.

Here is what the designer Rob Ball has to say on keel design.

“So George (Cuthbertson) changed the boat-put the swept back keel on and the owner won the Circuit (SORC). But that probably wasn't as significant as the fact that he sailed around here for a couple of years after that and sailed against the same boats he had sailed against with the previous keel on it and indeed the boat was faster upwind and that sort of confirmed what the tank had told us. The theory, of course, was that you can keep sweeping the keel back, cutting drag and it really didn't cut lift that much.”

Now, you may think that upwind sailing is not as important to you, as it is for racers, but if you have to get away from a hurricane by sailing close hauled for a couple of days, as I did, you will thank God that you chose a good upwind design.

Below is the deck profile for the production 33. You can see that there is a cockpit coaming, and no aft deck, a smaller cockpit and longer coachroof. There is no box section around the mast. The sail plan is the same. It has wheel steering.


NOT the 3/4T. This is Production 33